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Project to Find Homes for Newark’s Homeless Gains Steam

The numbers were daunting, the task formidable.

One year ago, Newark and Essex County leaders unveiled an ambitious plan to get the county’s nearly 4,000 homeless residents off the streets in 10 years. The first step in the plan, called the Newark 50 Project, was to target the 50 most vulnerable of Newark’s homeless — those most likely to die on the streets —and put them in housing by the end of 2012.

The process of finding those 50 people began last month.

Today, officials said they have been able to provide housing for one woman.

“On Monday night she slept in Penn Station,” Mayor Cory Booker told a group of volunteers and housing advocates at a City Hall news conference. “Tonight she will sleep in her bed for the time in months.”

Newark 50 is part of a national effort called the 100,000 Homes campaign, which seeks to house the country’s most vulnerable individuals by 2013. When the plan to end homelessness was announced last July, few details were offered. Advocates called for the “increased leveraging” of public funds, greater philanthropic support and re-investment of cost-savings. Newark 50 is the first group to begin implementing those goals.